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China Food Exhibition|New National Standard on Fresh Produce Packaging

2024.02.29

China Food Exhibition learned that the State Administration for Market Regulation issued National Standard Bulletin No. 10 of 2023, "Requirements for Restricting Excessive Packaging of Commodities Fresh Edible Agricultural Products" (GB 43284-2023), a mandatory national standard. The standard was organized and drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARD) and will be in force from April 1, 2024 onwards.

The standard specifies the technical indicators and methods to determine whether the five major categories of fresh edible agricultural products, including vegetables (including edible fungi), fruits, livestock and poultry meat, aquatic products and eggs, are over-packed. The main technical indicators include the following three aspects:

First, for different categories and different sales package weights of fresh edible agricultural products, a upper limit of 10%-25% packaging void ratio is set.

Secondly, it is stipulated that the packaging of vegetables (including edible fungi) and eggs should not exceed 3 layers, and that of fruits, livestock and poultry meat and aquatic products should not exceed 4 layers of packaging.

Third, it is made clear that the ratio of the packaging cost of fresh edible agricultural products to the sales price should be no more than 20%. And for products with the price of more than 100 yuan like strawberries, cherries, prunes, loquats, livestock and poultry meat, aquatic products and eggs, the ratio should be no more than 15%.

The new national standard made very specific requirements for fresh packaging void ratio. For example, for vegetables (including edible fungi) with a total mass of no more than 1 kg, the packaging void rate should not exceed 25%. And for those with a total mass of more than 1 kg, the packaging void rate should not exceed 20%. For fruits with a total mass of no more than 1 kg, the packaging void rate should not exceed 20%; for those with a total mass of more than 1 kg but no more than 3 kg, the packaging void rate should not exceed 15%; and  for those with a total mass of more than 3 kg, the packaging void rate should not exceed 10%.

So, for ordinary consumers, how to recognize excessive packaging? The General Administration of Market Supervision suggests these:

Firstly, look. Look at the level of luxury of the material, the packaging of fresh edible agricultural products should not use precious metals, mahogany and other precious materials.

Secondly, count. Count the number of layers of the packaging. Those for vegetables (including edible fungi) and eggs should be no more than 3 layers, and for fruits, livestock and poultry meat, aquatic products no more than 4 layers.

Thirdly, measure. Measure the packaging volume to see if the actual packaging volume is less than the maximum permissible packaging volume of the quality of goods (such as 0.5kg strawberries allow the maximum packaging volume of 5.6L).

Fourthly ask. Ask about the cost of packaging. The ration for strawberries, cherries, prunes, loquats, livestock and poultry meat, aquatic products and eggs of more than 100 yuan should not exceed 15%.

China Food Exhibition was informed that in order to avoid unnecessary impact on agricultural production and operation activities and the generation of new waste of resources, the standard set a six-month transition period for implementation, and stipulates that "fresh edible agricultural products produced or imported before the date of implementation can be sold until the end of the shelf life". After implementation, production and management entities should comply with the standard's requirements for the design of packaging for the sale of fresh edible agricultural products.

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